Arizona Corporation Commissioner Calls Emergency Meeting Over California Blackouts, Power Demand

By Scott Bourque
Published: Saturday, August 22, 2020 - 2:01pm
Updated: Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 1:35pm

Record-breaking heat is leading to record-breaking demand for electricity. In the past week, APS asked customers to conserve power by raising their thermostats during peak hours. In California, utilities have resorted to rolling blackouts. 

Corporation Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson called an emergency meeting with other members of the Arizona Corporation Commission to discuss the possibility of rolling blackouts in Arizona if the demand for electricity continues.

Marquez-Peterson was blunt with her question for APS resource manager Brad Albert.

“Did your utility sell any power to utilities or customers in other states?" she asked during the virtual meeting. "Did those sales put Arizona customers at risk in any way? Or were your company’s requests to conserve related to creating excess energy your company could sell at a premium to other states or customers?”

Both APS and Tucson Electric Power Company gave assurances that there was enough power to meet demand, and that they would not sell electricity to out-of-state customers if there wasn’t enough for Arizonans.

Albert said the utility would not sell power to California and other western states if demand in Arizona was too high.

“Importantly, we will not sell energy if it would jeopardize reliable service to our customers," Albert said. "My folks know that, that is a hard limit, and we would not jeopardize reliability to make a sale. Our reliable service to our APS customers comes first, end of discussion.”

Marquez-Peterson called the informal meeting since Chairman Bob Burns declined to call a formal meeting of the Commission.

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